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ABILENE, Texas –McMurry University alumnus Tyler McCracken will give a free lecture on new developments in telescope design at 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 26, in room 105 of the Finch-Gray Science Center on the McMurry campus. The event is sponsored by the McMurry Chapter of the Society of Physics Students; McMurry Chapter of Sigma Pi Sigma, National Physics Honor Society and the Physics Department . He also will speak at this year’s School of Natural and Computational Sciences Homecoming Reception about his McMurry experience. His presentation is entitled “From building tipis to tracking fringes: A graduate student’s perspective on the McMurry experience”. The SNCS homecoming reception is at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, in the Finch-Gray Science Building, rooms S104/S105/S106.

McCracken graduated from McMurry University with BS in physics in 2008 and was accepted to the graduate program in Astrophysics at the New Mexico Institute of Mines and Technology. Currently he is a PhD candidate in that program.

“In astronomy, there is the constant push for bigger and better next generation telescopes across all wavelengths. A bigger telescope offers two things: more collecting area and higher resolution,” said McCracken. “With more collecting area, the observer can see fainter objects; with higher resolution, the observer can see more detail on the object. For ultrahigh resolution observations in which the observer is looking for the most detailed image possible, they look to interferometry.”

“Interferometers synthesize a much larger telescope by combining light from multiple smaller telescopes and have become an important tool in wavelengths from the radio to the optical,” he said. “The next generation of stellar interferometers that operate in the optical and near-infrared wavelengths start with the Magdalena Ridge Observatory Interferometer currently being built in New Mexico. In this talk, I will overview stellar interferometry and detail the inherent difficulties these instruments face. How the Magdalena Ridge Observatory Interferometer will overcome these technical hurdles will then be shown.”